At the recent 2015 IDC Directions conference in Boston, I heard Scott Lundstrom speak on business transformation and industry clouds. What was particularly compelling about his examples was the extent of the transformation and the first-mover advantage generated by deploying an industry platform via the cloud. In fact, IDC predicts that these types of industry platforms will disrupt one-third of the top 20 market leaders in most industries by 2018. Yes, 2018…less than three years away.
The impact that these industry platforms are having is less about IT and more about operational technology, meaning they provide line-of-business access to needed capabilities at both a lower cost and without start-up struggles. This enables businesses to go faster at less risk. For the firms that develop this platform capability first, they benefit not only from using the platform themselves but also by creating an incremental revenue stream from selling the platform’s value to other firms within their industry.
For example, Mercy Health developed its own health system platform specifically to improve its patient care and to meet its strategic objectives. Once optimized for Mercy’s best practices, Mercy Health then offered this out-of-the-box, cloud capability to other hospital systems facing similar business challenges. What once started as a project to better its patient care is now a new, incremental business with two winners—Mercy Health and the broader healthcare industry.
Cloud is clearly part of the success formula for these industry-specific platforms. In fact, the IBM Business Tech Trends study found that leading companies – called Pacesetters – are four to seven times more likely to use cloud to deliver mobile, social and big data and analytics initiatives.
Given cloud’s central role as a platform for innovation, I suspect this budding trend toward business and technology leaders creating valuable industry-specific information service businesses—based on cloud deployment—will only accelerate in the coming years.